M6D1: USA PATRIOT Act and “Going Dark”
Picture of the USA PATRIOT Act protestor wearing duct tape over his mouth. Many civil liberties organizations claim that the USA PATRIOT Act has unnecessarily broadened the government’s power and is overstepping Americans’ constitutional rights, particularly in the area of individuals’ Fourth Amendment privacy rights. Opponents of the Act also claim that the increased surveillance provisions violate individual rights without significantly reducing the threat of terrorism in America.
Arresting and prosecuting these sorts of activities under the guise of “terrorism” affords the government many investigative and prosecutorial advantages, while it also stifles political dissent to protect private economic gain at the expense of the environment.
Upon completion of this activity, you will be able to:
Explain the issue of balancing national security and Americans civil liberties
Discuss how the USA PATRIOT Act has broadened the government’s intelligence-gathering powers
Examine the issues regarding the use of The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) by government agents.
After reviewing the assignments, Module Notes, and video in the Learning & Assessment Activities page, you will have a better understanding of the many issues related to individual and corporate privacy in relation to the state’s security interests. Please respond to the following:
Choose a particular title or section within the USA PATRIOT Act that you think is most controversial. Discuss the issue as you see it, and explain your viewpoint within the context of balancing national security and the privacy rights of individuals.
Which way do you fall, or lean, on this balance?
Now consider and explain “going dark” in light of the PATRIOT Act and the impact of technology on the ability (regardless of legality) to gather intelligence.
In your view, should the private sector and individuals have this capability relative to the state’s lawful security concerns?
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